Our Faculty of Authors


We’re so excited for our expanding list of authors. Among them are award-winners, teachers, illustrators, and journalists. Some have written non-fiction, others have written science fiction and fantasy, and others have written for children.

If there is an author you would like to see on the list, please leave us a comment on our contact page.


Mackenzi Lee

Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults, and her short fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Atlas Obscura, The Boston Globe, Crixeo, and the The Newport Review, among others.

Her debut novel, This Monstrous Thing, won the Pen-New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Her second novel, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue was a New York Times Bestseller, an ABA Bestseller, has been optioned for TV by Greg Berlanti, and was awarded a 2018 Stonewall Book Award Honor and The New England Book Award. The sequel, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, debuted at #3 on The New York Times Bestseller List amid critical praise. She is also the author or Bygone Badass Broads, a Collection of Women in History You Probably Don’t Know About but Should, and is currently working on a series for Marvel Press.

She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and Star Wars. On a perfect day she can be found enjoying all three with her St. Bernard puppy, Queenie.


Lindsey Leavitt

Lindsey Leavitt is the author of over a dozen books for kids, tweens, and teens. She is a former elementary school teacher and present-day writer/mom/speaker/party animal (not to be confused with her spirit animal, which is a lion). A graduate of Brigham Young University, Lindsey uses her teaching background to present to hundreds of schools across the nation. Lindsey lives in a shoe with her many children in the Utah mountains.


Matthew J. Kirby

Matthew J. Kirby is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of the middle grade novels The Clockwork ThreeIcefallThe Lost KingdomInfinity Ring Book 5: Cave of Wonders, and The Quantum League series, the Dark Gravity Sequence, and the Assassin’s Creed series, Last Descendants. He was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start, and won the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. He is a school psychologist, and currently lives in Utah with his wife and three step-kids.


J.M. Kirby

Jaime Kirby is this year’s director of First Pages. She is a former food blogger and the author of Celebrate Every Day: Recipes to Make the Most of Special Moments with Your Family (skirt! 2013, as Jaime Richardson), which starred her three kids.

Jaime loves England, puppies, French pastries, and tea parties. She loves classic literature and tried her hand at a historical novel set in 1774 Boston. It is currently on submission.


Emily Wing Smith

Even as a child, Emily Wing Smith had overly thick eyebrows, a passion for writing, and a tendency toward attending odd schools. So it wasn't much of a surprise when she graduated first with a BA in English from Brigham Young University, and later with an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College. It's also no real shocker that she spends too much money on eyebrow waxing.

Emily lives with her husband in Salt Lake City, where she writes, bakes chocolate chip cookies, and occasionally substitutes at her old high school (which hasn't gotten any less odd).


Christian McKay Heidicker

Christian McKay Heidicker reads and writes and drinks tea. Between his demon-hunting cat and his fiddling, red-headed girlfriend, he feels completely protected from evil spirits. Christian is the author of Scary Stories for Young FoxesCure for the Common Universe and Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

 photo by Erin Summerill

photo by Erin Summerill

Julianne Donaldson

Julianne Donaldson grew up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. She learned how to ski in the Italian Alps, visited East Berlin before the wall came down, and spent three years living next to a 500-year-old castle. After earning a degree in English, she turned her attention to writing about distant times and places. She lives in Utah with her five children.

 photograph from Salt Lake Tribune

photograph from Salt Lake Tribune

Ann Cannon

Ann was born in Salt Lake City and grew up in Provo, where she attended public schools and earned both a B.A. and M.A. from Brigham Young University. She has published fiction and nonfiction in a variety of regional and national magazines. She has also written award-winning books for young readers from preschoolers to young adults. Ann has taught creative writing and children’s literature at Westminster College and BYU and works as a part-time bookseller at The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City. Ann and her husband, Ken, have five sons, four daughters-in-law and five grandchildren. Her interests include gardening, knitting, traveling, reading murder mysteries, watching baseball and football, and collecting antique dolls. She and her husband are also the caretakers of three dogs, two cats, a parrot and a fish that was still alive last time they checked.


Erin Summerill

Erin Summerill is an award-winning author of the young adult fantasy Ever The Hunted, and Ever the Brave. When she's not writing, Erin is devouring a book, photographing one, or talking to teens about her latest favorite read. Once a high school English teacher, she now teaches at conferences and workshops. Her focus talk on "How to Do Hard Things" empowers middle grade and high school students to face their fears and achieve their goals. 


Brodi Ashton

Brodi Ashton is a New York Times Bestselling author and a columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune. She is coauthor, along with Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows, of My Plain Jane (which was voted as one of the top 5 YA historical fiction books of 2018 on Goodreads) and My Lady Jane. She is also the author of Diplomatic Immunity, Everneath, which was a VOYA Perfect 10 for 2011; Everbound; and Evertrue; She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics. Brodi lives in Utah with her family.


Dustin Hansen

Dustin Hansen, author of Game On! and the Microsaurs series, was raised in rural Utah, where he spent many days hiking red rock canyons that once belonged to the dinosaurs. But even the beautiful mountains couldn’t keep him away from his love of pixels and controllers. He has been writing and creating art for the video game industry for more than two decades. Dustin and his family live in rural Utah once again, where he is the current king of the family Mario Kart circuit.


Please note: Because our roster of faculty is made up of wonderful people—who have lives in addition to writing and speaking—it is possible that the list could change prior to the event. But we will keep you posted if anything happens.